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          Yes, our tours provide a great learning experience for anyone interested in learning more about the Book of Mormon and the proposed locations of the events described therein. It is also a wonderful opportunity to learn about the ancient cultures of Mesoamerica, such as the Olmecs, the Maya, the Zapotecs, the Aztecs, and other civilizations. It's also a great vacation destination for the magnificent beauty of the areas we visit. We do recommend that children under 12 stay home unless previous arrangements have been made with us.

          Yes. It is necessary to have a current passport for travel to leave and re-enter the United States.  A visa is not required to visit Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, or Honduras. Tourist cards are filled out upon entry to each of these countries.

          As of June 12, 2022, COVID-19 vaccinations or negative PCR or Antigen tests are no longer required for travel to the destination countries or to return to the United States. 
          There are no vaccination requirements for visitors entering Guatemala, Mexico, or Belize.
          If you have any health problems, it is recommended that you check with your personal physician.

          If you have any health problems, please be sure to bring your medication with you in their original containers. 

          Although there is not an excessive amount of walking, the decision to climb the pyramids may be determined by your own physical condition.  You will have the opportunity to climb several major pyramids during the course of the trip.  The most difficult day is Tikal.  The tour covers about 3 miles of walking in approximately 4 hours.  Most of the terrain is foot paths along jungle trails with slopes and steps.

          The time spent preparing for a trip to the beautiful and fertile countries of southeastern Mexico and Central America can greatly enhance the trip itself.  Probably the most important thing you can do is to review the Book of Mormon.  You will witness the Book of Mormon come to life as you travel through the areas and absorb cultures that have been suggested as Book of Mormon lands.  If you desire additional reading you may want to choose from the following list of LDS authors.  These books are sold at most LDS bookstores.
           Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, 2nd edition by Dr. Joseph Lovell Allen and Blake Joseph Allen, 2008 (Book of Mormon Tours, LLC) [This book is included in the price of the tour. If you would like additional copies, please call our office at 801.226.5200.

          The Book of Mormon Text Reformatted According to Parallelistic Patterns by Donald W. Parry, 1992 (FARMS)

          The Popol Vuh by Allen J. Christenson, 2004 (O Books)

Some good books by non-LDS authors include:

          Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens by Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube, 2000 (Thames and Hudson, Inc.)

          The Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Diaz, 1517-21 (The Noonday Press, NY)
          Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and the Yucatan by John Lloyd Stephens, 1841 (Dover Publications)

          Distant Neighbors by Alan Riding, 1986 (Vintage Books)

          The Maya by Michael Coe, 1987 (4th edition - Thames and Hudson, Inc.)

          A Forest of Kings by Linda Schele and David Freidel, 1990 (William Murrow & Co.)

          If a person under the age of 18 is traveling alone or with only one parent, he/she will need a notarized statement signed by both parents which states that both parents agree for that person to travel to a foreign country. This is necessary even if the parents are divorced. If one of the parents is deceased, you will need to notify us. (Parent permission forms are available HERE.)

          Please do not over pack.  Limit yourself to one medium suitcase and one small carry-on, or equivalent.  As one person said, “Lay out your clothes, suitcases and money on the bed.  Put away half of your clothes and double your money, and then you are on your way!”  Seriously though, travel as lightly as possible. Some of the airlines charge for each piece of luggage or have a weight restriction of 50 pounds per piece that is usually enforced with fees of $50 or more for each piece that goes over. You may also want to put your name and address inside your luggage in case the luggage tags on the outside get ripped off during flights. It is a good idea to leave room in your suitcase for the many and varied bargains you will find in Mexico and Guatemala.  Dress comfortably.  One dress for women and a shirt and tie for men is advisable for church activities.  Other than that, take casual clothes.  You probably should take about four or five changes of clothing and a light jacket or sweater is also advisable.  Always wear comfortable walking shoes. Sandals are also okay. Don’t forget your swimming suit as many of the hotels have nice swimming pools.  Some hotels do not provide wash cloths, so you may want to bring your own.  Other items that you may want to pack in a place that is accessible are sunscreen, insect repellent, wet wipes, camera, film, a Book of Mormon and your copy of Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon or Sacred Sites.  You may also want to bring along some writing material as you may have the desire to record some of your experiences along the way.  Also, don’t forget your temple recommend.  Where available, we try to attend a session.  Temple clothing is available for rent at most of the temples. The temples are closed for maintenance at different times throughout the year so you need to be aware that a temple may be closed during your trip.

          The electrical current in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize is the same as in the United States.  Occasionally a hotel may have an electrical outlet where both prong receptacles are the same size.  This would require an adapter with narrow prongs.  However, most of the hotel outlets are the same as ours.  If you use a camera with film, be aware that film is expensive; therefore it is advisable to purchase an ample amount before you leave.  Many of the archaeological sites and museums are now charging a fee to take in a video camera (approximately $5 to $10 USD.)  Also, if you are bringing a battery that will need recharging, they sometimes require a three-prong adapter.  Photo cards for digital cameras are also available, but are also expensive. No drones are allowed at the archaeological sites.

          Over 500,000 tourists visit Guatemala and millions visit Mexico each year.  Security is of the utmost concern.  In order to provide the most secure environment possible we stay in first class hotels which provide their own security.  We travel only during daylight hours and only on main, well-traveled roads.  We travel in large, first class buses regardless of the number of passengers on the tour.  We also provide instruction in case of robbery threats.  It is recommended that you leave any valuables at home.

          The average family in Mexico spends 70% of their income on food.  In the United States we spend about 17%.  The food in Mesoamerica is very good and is of great variety.  The staple products for centuries have been corn, beans, and squash; however the average meals almost always consist of portions of fruit, fish and chicken.  Guatemala and Mexico both have an excellent supply of quality beef.  We provide two meals each day. Many of the breakfasts are buffet style, thus allowing a variety of excellent choices of fruits, cereals, eggs, and breads.  Our afternoon or evening meal normally consists of soup or salad, a main plate and an excellent choice of desserts.  The so-called Mexican foods such as tacos, burritos, chimichangas, etc. do not have the same taste as our Mexican restaurants do at home.  Our fourth son summed it up rather adequately when he said, “I can hardly wait to get home and go to Taco Bell so I can get some real Mexican food.”  We stay at deluxe and best available hotels.  This decision has literally been instrumental in the reduction of some health discomforts.  Time is allowed for an additional third meal or snack during the day. No meals are included on the first and last days of the tour. We stay in 4 or 5-star hotels or the best available in the area. The hotels in the large cities have their own built in purifying systems.  The hotels that do not have purifying systems will provide purified water in bottles for brushing your teeth.  You will need to purchase extra water to consume.  Bottled water is widely available.

          You may pay for tour with either a check or a credit card. If a credit card is used, a 3.0% fee will be added. A deposit is required to secure your place on a tour. This amount may vary depending on the tour. A second payment of $1,000 per person may be due 6 months prior to departure. Full payment is due 60 days prior to departure.
          Unless otherwise stated, airfare is not included in the price of the tour. You may arrange for your own round trip airfare or work with a travel agent. You may also use frequent flyer miles and will need to work directly with the airlines.  Please let us know so that we can coordinate your flight times with the rest of the group.  All internal airfare will be arranged for by Book of Mormon Tours. 

          The climate varies considerably, depending upon the time of year and the elevation. As opposed to summer and winter, the weather in Mesoamerica is addressed as either the rainy season (May-October) or the dry season (November-April).  The hottest months of the year are April and May.  If you travel during the rainy season, it is advisable to carry an umbrella or an inexpensive poncho. Most of the time we are able to either be on the bus or inside a building during the rainy time, which usually lasts 30 to 45 minutes per day during the rainy season, but there are some places that might surprise us. The greatest determining factor of the climate is the elevation.  Approximately 75% of any given tour takes place in mountainous regions which range in elevation from 5000-7200 feet elevation.  As a result, the evenings are cool and the days are mild.  The coastal areas, including the Yucatan, Belize and the Peten jungle of Guatemala are often hot and humid.  The Gulf of Mexico, in the Mexican States of Veracruz and Tabasco, is subject to rain year round. Bring a light jacket or sweater or sweatshirt for evenings and early mornings and for flights and bus travel.  The rainy season is from July to November.

          The Mexican currency is called the PESO.  The current (2024) exchange rate is approximately $16 (pesos) to $1.00 U.S. dollar.  Guatemala’s currency is called QUETZALES (Quetzal-singular). The current exchange rate is approximately Q7.50 to $1.00 US dollar.  While traveling throughout Belize, US currency is used interchangeably with the Belize dollar which has half the value of the U.S. dollar. We are often asked how much money should be taken on tour for personal expenses.  This amount varies widely from person to person; some will purchase one or two souvenirs and an occasional snack, while others will spend more money on local handicrafts than they did on the tour itself.  Regardless, it is recommended that you keep cash at a minimum as ATM machines are becoming more available throughout Mesoamerica. You will need your PIN number. There is a fee for ATM cash withdrawals and your home bank may also charge a fee for using your ATM internationally.  You will also want to let your bank know that you will be using your card internationally so they don’t shut it down thinking that your card has been stolen. Some hotels can exchange money, but they are often limited to the amount they can exchange.  Airport currency exchange kiosks are typically quite expensive. Traveler’s checks are very difficult to exchange and should not be used.
          If you are going to bring cash, it is advisable to bring small denominations, $1, $5, $10, $20. Try to make sure that there are no tears (rips) or writing on the bills as they are not accepted very well. Always have your passport with you when changing money.

          The unique items that are made by outstanding artisans in both Mexico and Guatemala, along with the price, make for some interesting shopping.  Each area, including small towns, tends to make something that is peculiar to their own community.  For example, obsidian comes from Teotihuacan, jade from Oaxaca and Guatemala, and onyx is manufactured in Puebla.  Because of this, a rule of thumb when shopping is that if you see something that you want at the price you want, purchase it.  You may not see that same item again in the course of the trip.  A visit to a native marketplace puts one in the same dilemma as Bernal Diaz, a soldier in the army of the conquering Cortez.  In the 16th century, Bernal Diaz wrote: “I could wish that I had finished telling of all the things which are sold there, but they are so numerous of such different quality and the great marketplace with its surrounding arcade was so crowded with people, that one would not have been able to see and inquire about it in two days” (Diaz, p.217). Bargaining is a native tradition.  Usually if you show an interest and then wait for them to bargain, the price will be lowered.  Most vendors are excellent salesmen.  Also, some prices are marked, and that price will normally not be lowered.  It never hurts to ask, however.  All in all, the people are very friendly and cordial.  It is advisable to learn an easy way of recognizing the money value as you could come up on the short end.  By the same token, we have seen sales lost for less than 25 cents due to the desire to get a lower price, not realizing that it was such a small difference.

          It is well to familiarize yourself with the customs and traditions of the people.  “Gracias” (thank you) is very appropriate after meals and other occasions.  We discourage the taking of candies for the purpose of throwing out the bus windows to children.  It is both demeaning and dangerous for the youngsters.  Little children do, however, often ask for pencils or other school supplies to be used when they go to school.  But again, you must be very careful in handing them out.  We have seen groups of children nearly knock a person to the ground in their eagerness to get the pencils.  On our tours that include Guatemala, we often visit a local school.  The school welcomes any school supplies that you may wish to bring along.  Politeness and a sincere smile is certainly the universal language.  Speak as much Spanish as you can.  The time on the trip is an excellent opportunity to practice and even to learn some words and phrases, even if you have never spoken any Spanish.

          There is bottled water available for purchase in most airports, restaurants, stores and most of the hotels.  Some of our hotels have purified water systems and will provide you with bottled water in your room. It is recommended that you use bottled water for brushing your teeth even if the water system in purified. Additional bottles of water can be purchased almost everywhere.  The restaurants where we eat serve purified water and ice that is made from purified water.

          Most people find that the two meals per day that are provided on the tour are usually all they want to eat, however you may bring snacks from home (trail mix, nuts, etc.), or you can purchase packaged chips, cookies, candy, etc. in the hotel gift shops and other stores.  If you bring things from home, keep them in their original packaging. If it is necessary that you eat at regular times, it would be a good idea to have something in your carry-on in case of emergencies.

          There are no self-serve laundry facilities in any of the hotels except for laundry services offered by the hotels; however, they are quite expensive and can only be used when there is a two-night stay in the hotel.  You probably will prefer to do your own laundry in your own bathroom.  Travel size laundry soaps are available at stores at home to bring with you.

          Please remember to be at the airport at least two to three hours prior to departure.  Also, remember to have your passport in a handy place as you will have to show it to the ticket agent when you board your outbound flight as well as when you enter a new country.  Do not tuck them away in your luggage that is going to be checked in.  Be sure your luggage is checked all the way through to your final destination and labeled with your name and address.  Please visit the Transportation Security Administration for more details on travel and restricted items at www.tsa.gov/311.
          There will be no liquids, pastes, gels, or any fluids of any kind allowed in your carry-on unless they are in a clear bottle, 3 oz or less.  They also must be in a clear zip lock bag.  This includes contact solution, lotions, toothpaste, hairspray, hair gel, sunscreen, mouthwash, etc.  If you require medications or insulin during the flight they must be accompanied with the prescriptions properly labeled with the passenger’s name.  If you are traveling with an infant, you will be allowed to have formula, juice and water for them that will be verified as such. Please adjust your packing habits so as not to delay yourself and others in the security line. If you have these items in your carry-on and they do not follow the packing guidelines above, you will be asked to throw them away at the security area. If you have any questions on what you can pack in your carry-on, please call the airline directly.

          You need to be aware that there are departure tax fees that must be paid either when entering or departing from each country visited. The current tax rate for Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize is approximately $30 to $40 per person for each country. This tax is not included in the price of the tour.

          Health insurance is your responsibility. We do not include insurance for the tour. You may want to check to see if your health insurance policy will cover you while traveling, and some home owner's policies cover lost luggage or stolen articles. If you would like trip cancellation insurance please visit our website at www.bookofmormontours.com and click on the link at the bottom of the home page for Allianz Global Insurance for more information. (CLICK HERE)

          The places visited in Mesoamerica are representative of Book of Mormon lands, and it is recommended that they be viewed as such.  To totally lock into a specific Book of Mormon geographical view, without leaving room for an escape hatch can place one in a precarious position.  It has been frustrating for some people who have traveled to Mesoamerica, having been exposed to possible Book of Mormon correlations, only to have their enthusiasm deflated by someone who has not had the same experience.  Therefore, a tentative caution is recommended, realizing that there are even differences of opinion among those who systematically study the area in relationship to the Book of Mormon.  Nevertheless, there are some exciting and verifiable correlations in relation to the Book of Mormon that causes one to read the Book of Mormon through different eyes as the trip is concluded.  One is indeed justified in labeling Mesoamerica as the lands of the Book of Mormon for the following reasons:

          1. The only place where a written language was in use during Book of Mormon times was in Mesoamerica.
          2. The majority of the archaeological sites which date to Book of Mormon time period are in Mesoamerica.
          3. Written and oral traditional statements correlate with the culture patterns and events in the Book of Mormon.
          4. The geographical pattern required in the Book of Mormon compares favorably with Mesoamerica.

We wish you success as you prepare for the great experience that awaits you, and we look forward to being with you in the proposed lands of the Book of Mormon.

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